VANCOUVER, Wash. – Just over a year after his $660 million Columbia Community Credit Union attempted to change its charter to that of a mutual bank, Columbia CEO David Doss has announced that he is moving on to lead another credit union, this time in Arizona. Doss has been hired by the $950 million Arizona State Savings and Credit Union, headquartered in Phoenix. “Over the past eight years, Columbia’s assets have grown from $200 million to nearly $700 million, said Marquetta White, vice chair of Arizona State Savings and CU’s Board. “Dave has demonstrated that he knows how to run an organization that is focused on value for the member, meanwhile, balancing their individual needs with what is best for the entire membership. We are excited about adding an individual of this caliber to the Arizona State Savings & CU team,” she added. The joint announcement from Columbia and Arizona did not mention the charter change fight which dominated Doss’ last days with the credit union and Arizona has not commented on it. Columbia’s November 2003 attempt to change its charter to that of a mutual bank and the NCUA’s subsequent investigation of the credit union’s vote and the fight between its board of directors and some of its members was one of the lead credit union news stories of the last year. Observers outside the credit union had speculated that the September 2003 election of four new board members from a slate of members opposed to the conversion numbered Doss’ day with the credit union. But Dale Magers, chairman of Columbia’s board, denied that the changing of the guard had anything to do with Doss’ move and said the credit union board had been aware that Doss would probably move on if the right opportunity presented itself. “Dave has done some very good work here and helped the credit union a great deal,” Magers said, “but this is an opportunity to work with a significantly bigger credit union and we wish him very well.” The board had not known of Doss’ resignation in advance but was not surprised, Magers said. According to the joint release, it was Doss’ performance before the charter change fight which attracted the Arizona CU to him. “Dave brings strong industry and financial expertise, highly developed leadership skills and a well-established track record of both member and employee satisfaction to Arizona State Savings and CU,” White said. “As Columbia CEO, he’s driven strategy and developed an organization and management team whose financial performance is in the top 8% of all credit unions nationwide,” she added. Doss has not granted any interviews about the move. Columbia appeared to go out of its way to highlight the parts of Doss’ tenure with the credit union that had not involved the charter fight, including the fact that, during his time as CEO, the number of families getting home loans from Columbia doubled and the credit union’s growth made it Clark County’s largest depository institution. The credit union also became the county’s leading auto lender for a number of years. Magers declined to characterize Doss’ departure as the ending chapter of the charter change fight, asserting that the board’s old members and new members had already met in special workshops designed to help its members overcome any negative feelings remaining from that fight. “I would say that the board is unified in its love for and commitment to this credit union,” said Magers. “Any negative feeling that people might have had before they became board members have been left outside as they have begun working from the inside to keep Columbia a leading financial institution in Clark County.” Indeed, the credit union’s financial indicators point to stabilization after the controversy. From December 2003 to March 2004, the credit union’s return on average assets dropped from 1.44 to .55, but then rose again to .87 in June 2004 and .86 in September 2004, the latest date for which there is data. Magers said that the credit union had no special goals for the time after Doss left except to continue the strong performance it has built so far. The credit union board has named Chuck Anderson, a senior vice president of the credit union, to serve as an interim CEO while the board conducts an executive search to find a replacement for Doss. Magers said the credit union board has formed an executive search committee and has begun to look for a search firm. “The process of hiring a new CEO will be thorough, yet swift. As one of our nation’s top credit unions, we’re confident a number of qualified applicants will express interest.” -

dmorrison@cutimes.com